The International Surface Pressure Databank version 2: A new publication in the Geoscience Data Journal

Aug. 4, 2015
Posted by: Thomas Cram

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The RDA is pleased to announce the publication of the data paper titled "The International Surface Pressure Databank version 2", which was recently published in the Geoscience Data Journal and is available at  The article provides a full description of version 2 of the International Surface Pressure Databank (ISPDv2), a dataset which is archived in the RDA and can be accessed from the ds132.0 dataset page.

The ISPDv2 is the world's largest collection of global surface and sea-level pressure observations.  It was developed by extracting observations from established international archives, through international cooperation with data  recovery facilitated by the Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative, and directly by contributing universities, organizations, and countries.  The dataset period is currently 1768–2012 and consists of three data components: observations from land stations, marine observing systems, and tropical cyclone best track pressure reports.

Recognition of this dataset would not be complete without making an acknowledgement of the contributions of citizen science projects, including and the Sir Charles Todd Project team.  Facilitated by the ACRE initiative, these citizen-led data rescue efforts provide valuable information to long-term historical datasets such as the ISPDv2 and provide a better understanding and insight into the Earth's climate.  The ISPDv2 and 20CR, therefore, stand as prime examples of the benefits gained from volunteer citizen science projects such as these.

The ISPD has been used as observational input data in several important climate reanalysis datasets, including the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR; Compo et al. 2011) and the ERA-20C reanalysis project at ECMWF (Poli et al. 2013).  Every observational record in the ISPD also contains the results of the quality control and data assimilation feedback from the 20CR; this information provides valuable information to users on the quality and usefulness of each observational record during the 20CR time period (1869-2012).  Countless research and data rescue efforts, therefore, benefit from this quality control information, since the ISPD and 20CR is able to provide a 'ground truth' verification of historical weather observations and climate studies.